Differentiation – Lesson Plan for Kids to get rid of “its not fair!”


I saw this idea  a few years ago on Pro Teacher. My students love it!

On the first day of school, I call everyone to the carpet and we sit around in a circle. I tell each student to come up with a pretend injury. Then I call each student to the front. As they show me their injury, I put the bandaid on all of them in the exact same spot (upper right arm) . When someone replies, “but that wasn’t where I was hurt!” I tell them that I am treating them all fairly. They usually try to argue so I may say, “Ohhh you want me to give you a bandaid where you NEED it?” Students usually look at me and give me the “Duh!” look.  (I do this with all students and even though they know I will put it in the same spot as the others, they usually say a different spot hoping I will give it to them there.) Everyone is all smiles and seeing if I will change my mind about the spot. I try to keep a straight face as I help them with their “boo boo.” Here is one of my friends from last year showing off his bandaid.

After all students have a bandaid, I take time to discuss that fair doesn’t mean the same. We are all different so what we need is not always the same. This is called differentiation. I also tell them that when someone has a boo-boo or gets hurt when they are at school, we would help them and not make fun of them. So if someone has a different activity in class is is so they will get what they need and we won’t make them feel like they aren’t as smart as or smarter than someone else.

This lesson will be referred to all year whenever students say “That isn’t fair.” I really make sure that students know that they will get what they need, not what everyone else needs. I tell them that this means that sometimes students will read different books or be doing different activities, but everyone will be learning and having fun.

I then follow up the activity by introducing Daily 5 and Reading. I read Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr just because we are about to start reading.

I say something like, “I guess you’ve noticed ALL the books in our room.” We have a lot of books and a lot of different kind of books. I love to read all kinds of books!”

Next, I  ask children what readers do. I write their responses on chart paper.

Then I bring out all kinds of books, magazines, lists, recipes, letters, etc. We talk about all the different kinds of things that people read and why they read them. (I don’t discuss read to self at this point, I just want them to be comfortable in the class as this is one of first activities. I find that because so many firsties come in above or below where they should be, that if I teach the band aid lesson first it helps put everyone at ease and makes the rest of they day go smoothly.)

I send kids to table spots to read a book or magazine of their choosing from the baskets of books. We do this for about 5 or so minutes. At the end, I gather children to talk about their reading and how they were all reading different things. Pardon my messy writing on this. It was just a quick one I did on the first day long before I was blogging. The picture was taken to help me remember for this year!

I really do refer to this lesson all year as the band aid lesson, but for most students it never comes up again. Whoever created this lesson did such a great job creating such a concrete way to help students understand differentiation. If it was you, let me know so that I can give you credit and so I can tell you what a genius I think you are!

One thought on “Differentiation – Lesson Plan for Kids to get rid of “its not fair!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s